Heading back to the office? How to return to your commute this fall

From traffic delays to waiting for buses which don’t show up, just getting to work can start (or end) your day on a low. Who hasn’t ever shown up to the office in the mood to call it a day?

The typical commute isn’t only unenjoyable; it’s just not good for you. Studies have shown that passive commutes can increase social isolation, stress, and generally take a stamp on your well-being.

But during the pandemic, the script has changed when it comes to our once rigid routines. We’ve discovered the serotonin boost from a daily walk or cycle, embraced the benefits of the YouTube yoga flow, and appreciated life’s little joys that we just never had the time for before.

So as we return to the office, even commuting doesn’t need to go back to the way it was - we can even make it something to look forward to.

More than just a must-do, the commute is also one of the few times of the day you truly get to yourself. In fact, it could also be a crucial window of self care, helping you enjoy some movement, think more clearly, and start your day ready to make it yours.

So for commutes short or long, in rain or shine, here’s how to add a little more joy to your journey.

01

Start with your pre-commute morning routine.

Treat yourself — and your stomach! — and wake up on a weekday with a breakfast beyond the ordinary. Prep some meals you’ll actually look forward to eating the night before - think overnight oats with cinnamon, homemade granola bars, or breakfast muffins piled high with your favorite toppings.

Not only will it get you excited to even start the process of going to work, you’ll also be full for longer — no more hunger pangs by 10am.

02

Build a relationship with your neighborhood coffee maker.

Local coffee makers are some of the most fascinating people. Get to know the cafes of your neighbourhood and make a routine out of visiting them, boosting local business while enjoying some great conversation before the day begins.

Here’s a list of independent coffee roasters you can support in Berlin — are any of them in your kiez? Drop by and make the trip at least a semi-regular part of your commute routine.

03

Zone out, laugh or learn from a podcast.

Not only are podcasts great for passing time, there’s also many to choose from based on what you’re looking for. Whether you enjoy a morning laugh or a motivational thought-provoker, a good podcast is a lot like a TV show — once you’ve found one you’re truly hooked on, you’ll actually look forward to the time of the day you create to enjoy it.

Hint: the Dance marketing team are big fans of the Pop Culture Happy Hour and The Happiness Lab.

04

Find your zen with breathing exercises.

Hear us out — when you’re feeling overwhelmed by the fast pace of a city commute, there’s a lot to be gained from incorporating breath exercises into your day, but with the push and pull of modern life, who really has the time?

But this is where the stillness of your commute window might come in useful, especially if you’re stuck on the same mode of transport for a long time.

Try the Headspace app to get started.

05

Play the grateful game each morning.

Yes, it’s a cliché — but it works.

Instead of the usual negative spin, dedicate five minutes every morning to remembering what you’re grateful for — even waking up in a bed with a roof over your head is a great start. You’ll be surprised by how your positive attitude will be reflected in all your interactions in the day ahead.

06

Find your flock.

Check in on your coworkers. The chances are a lot of them joined during the pandemic, in a time where social isolation was a huge challenge for us all. Can you ride to work together once or twice a week?

Getting together to commute will be even more rewarding if you choose not to discuss work, and instead focus on getting to know the person on a more meaningful level. Not only will your commute be more interesting, you’ll also be fostering your own community, creating connections before your morning stand up.

07

Switch up your route.

If the monotony of the same commute gets you down, switch it up. Consider taking alternative routes to work to change your scenery and enjoy different views of your city.

Think parks instead of cycling routes, or riding through the suburbs over the main roads — you’ll see new parts of the city, and break up the regular routine.

08

Skip the subway, ride an ebike.

But if you just can’t face another cramped commute the traditional way, there’s no better alternative for travelling to work than with an ebike.

All it takes is the light push of the pedal to fly through the city, making movement easier, faster, and more environmentally friendly. Plus, unlike their non-motorized counterparts, with an ebike you won’t even break a sweat — so you can smoothly transition from pedalling to PowerPoint, and nobody has to know.

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